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Diacylglycerol Oil

Scientific Name(s): Diacylglycerol oil
Common Name(s): DAG oil, Enova, Healthy Econa

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 28, 2022.

Clinical Overview


Clinical trials have focused on the use of diacylglycerol (DAG) oil as adjunctive therapy for weight loss and body fat reduction, especially in metabolic syndrome. However, few quality, independent clinical trials have been conducted.


DAG oil has been used in clinical trials as replacement for usual consumption of cooking oil, as well as at a variety of fixed daily dosages.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical trials have reported few or no adverse effects.


The safety of DAG cooking oil is inconclusive. DAG cooking oil was found to contain considerably higher glycidyl fatty acid esters levels compared with other commercial edible oils and was discontinued. GEs are potential mutagens or carcinogens.


DAG oil was developed in Japan and launched in February 1999 by Kao Corporation as Healthy Econa cooking oil and is now widely used for cooking and salad oil in Japan. Kao Corporation has since introduced DAG in other products, such as mayonnaise, margarine, and canned tuna.(Hunter 2002, Yanai 2007)

In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Kao and its partner, Archer Daniels Midland Company, "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) status for their DAG oil product. In the United States, DAG oil is commercially available as Enova oil and may be used in home cooking and vegetable oil spreads.(Final Report 2007)

However, it was later discovered that DAG cooking oil contained glycidyl fatty acid esters. Glycidyl fatty acid esters are process contaminants. They are produced from a deodorization process performed under high-temperature conditions during the production of edible oils. Diacylglycerol oil contains considerably higher glycidyl fatty acid esters levels compared with other commercial edible oils and was discontinued. Glycidyl fatty acid esters are potential mutagens or carcinogens.(Shimamura 2021)


Diacylglycerol (DAG) is a world leading antiobesity functional cooking oil synthesized via structural modification of conventional fats and oils. DAG oil is made from the esterification of fatty acids originating from natural edible plant oils, such as soybean and rapeseed oils.(Final Report 2007, Umemura 2008, Yanai 2007) DAG exits in 3 stereoisomers, namely sn-1,2-DAG, sn-1,3-DAG, and sn-2,3-DAG. DAG, particularly sn-1,3-DAG, has the potential to suppress body fat accumulation and lower postprandial serum triacylglycerol, cholesterol, and glucose levels. DAG also improves bone health.(Lee 2020)

DAG oil is more hydrophilic and water soluble when synthesized enzymatically with the reverse reaction of 1,3-specific lipase.(Matsuo 2001, Tada 2003, Yanai 2007) Standardized DAG oil contains 1,2-DAG and 1,3-DAG in a 3:7 ratio.(Final Report 2007)

DAG has been banned from sale as it was found to contain probable carcinogen glycidol fatty acid esters. This caused a major challenge to lipid chemists in all fields to understand the contributions of the underlying composition and structure of oils to the formation of glycidyl fatty acid esters.(Lee 2020)

Uses and Pharmacology

The majority of published clinical trials have been conducted by the Kao Corporation, primarily among Japanese populations. The design of some of the trials also limits the strength of the findings. Issues present in some of the trials were that they were open-label and single-blind, small sample size with post-hoc subgroup analysis, and inadequate randomization as evidenced by differences in the study groups at onset of the study.

Few quality, independent clinical trials conducted in American populations are available in the literature.(Reyes 2008)

Metabolic Syndrome

Animal data

Medium‑chain enriched diacylglycerol (MCE‑DAG) oil decreased body fat mass in mice by increasing lipolysis and thermogenesis in adipose tissue.(Kim 2017)

The serum and liver cholesterol and TAG levels in rats fed with 1,3-DAG-rich oil were significantly reduced compared to rats fed a diet containing sunflower oil. It was concluded that 1,3-DAG-rich oil is a low calorie fat and exhibits hypolipidemic effects.(Prabhavathi Devi 2018) The effects of diacylglycerol and triacylglycerol from peanut oil and coconut oil on lipid metabolism in mice also showed positive results.(Lu 2020)

Clinical data

The majority of studies report the effect of DAG oil consumption on reducing increases in postprandial triglyceride serum levels, especially among insulin-resistant and high body mass index populations.(Ai 2007, Taguchi 2000, Takase 2005, Yamamoto 2001, Yamamoto 2006, Yanai 2007) Positive changes in certain lipid components, such as remnant-like lipoprotein particle triglycerides, remnant-like lipoprotein particle cholesterol, and chylomicron triglyceride, are reported.(Taguchi 2000, Yamamoto 2001) Limited data exist showing a positive effect on glucose metabolism(Li 2008, Takase 2005, Yanai 2007) while some trials have shown decreases in body weight with long-term consumption.(Ai 2007, Kawashima 2008, Li 2008, Yamamoto 2006, Yamamoto 2006)

However, no difference was found for lipid profiles or glucose and insulin metabolism in some of the trials after 12 weeks and after 1 year of consumption of DAG oil versus TAG oil.(Hunter 2002, Li 2008, Takeshita 2008, Yamamoto 2006) A meta-analysis of clinical trials through 2007 reported reduced postprandial (at 2 to 6 hours) triacylglycerol concentrations with DAG oil consumption and suggested a positive correlation with dosage.(Xu 2009)

In a small (n=25) crossover study among insulin-resistant participants in the United States, 5 weeks of a DAG oil–enriched diet had no effect on postprandial plasma triglycerides versus TAG oil, and fasting and postprandial glucose and insulin levels were unaffected.(Reyes 2008) Some effect in reducing adiposity has been suggested.(Yuan 2010)


DAG oil has been used in clinical trials as replacement for usual consumption of cooking oil, as well as at a variety of fixed daily dosages ranging from 10 g per 60 kg body weight to 0.5 g/kg body weight.Ai 2007, Hibi 2008, Kawashima 2008, Li 2008, Maki 2002, Nagao 2000, Reyes 2008, Taguchi 2000, Takase 2005, Takeshita 2008, Yamamoto 2006, Yamamoto 2001, Yamamoto 2006, Yasunaga 2004

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Experiments in rats have shown no adverse fetal/embryonic effects.(Morita 2008, Morita 2008) In rats, the effects of dietary alpha-linolenic acid-enriched diacylglycerol oil on embryofetal development at 5 mL/kg (4,715 mg/kg/day) (the highest dose tested) had a no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) for both maternal and developmental toxicity.(Bushita 2018)


None well documented. DAG oil reportedly does not affect the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, or K.Tada 2003

Adverse Reactions

Clinical trials report no adverse effects.Meguro 2007, Yasunaga 2004


The safety of DAG oil is inconclusive. DAG oil was found to contain considerably higher glycidyl fatty acid esters levels compared with other commercial edible oils and has been pulled from the market.(Lee 2020) Glycidyl fatty acid esters are potential mutagens or carcinogens.(Shimamura 2021) Kao Corporation Japan suspended the sales of DAG oil following review from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, which expressed concern over the occurrence of edible oil processing contaminant glycidol esters found in DAG oil.(Lee 2020) Toxicological studies disclosed that the free form of glycidyl fatty acid esters produced from the hydrolysis of glycidyl fatty acid esters in the body is a probable carcinogen that will result in the development of tumors. There is concern for the health status of consumers of DAG oil. No studies had been done so far to investigate the health implications of these individuals.(Lee 2020)

1,2-DAG has the potential to activate protein kinase C, an enzyme reportedly involved in tumor promotion activity, and topical application of DAG oil in mice has been reported to increase the incidence of skin carcinomas, leading to concerns regarding the safety of the oil.(Final Report 2003, Meguro 2007) However, experiments in rats have failed to demonstrate increased oral cancers, and no difference in protein kinase C activity for DAG oil compared with TAG oil was demonstrated.(Final Report 2007, Meguro 2007) It is likely that rapid metabolism of DAG, which reaches the interior of the cell quickly, reverses any protein kinase C activation. Tumor-promoting phorbol esters, on the other hand, are not rapidly metabolized and, therefore, cause persistent protein kinase C activation.

Long-term rat toxicity studies have revealed no treatment-related effects of DAG oil consumption at levels of up to 5.5% of the diet(Chengelis 2006, Ichihara 2008, Soni 2001) (although an anomaly in the findings was noted in one experiment at a lower dosage(Ichihara 2008)). The safety profile of heated DAG oil was found to be the same as that for unheated DAG oil in an experiment in rats.(Morita 2008) No evidence of gene mutation or genotoxic potential was demonstrated in Salmonella typhimurium or Escherichia coli Ames mutation tests.(Final Report 2007)



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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